BBC World Service – The Real Story, What’s China doing to fight climate change?

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A couple walking in floodwater near Zhengzhou Railway Station in Zhengzhou in Henan Province which experienced a year’s rainfall in just three days. Photo by Zhu Zhe/VCG via Getty Images.

This week a year’s worth of rain fell in just three days in China’s Henan province, flooding roads and public transport systems, killing dozens and displacing thousands. Floods are common in China’s rainy season, but this event is being linked to the climate crisis. China is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world – and many of its most carbon-intensive sectors employ vast numbers of people. At the same time the country has led efforts to develop green technologies like solar and wind, bringing down prices and encouraging the global shift away from fossil fuels. China says it shouldn’t be expected to follow the same decarbonisation timetable as major Western economies. But the US Climate Envoy John Kerry this week insisted that efforts to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will be “essentially impossible” without faster action from Beijing. So how crucial is China to the fight against climate change? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts.

Contributors

Junjie Zhang – Founder of the Environmental Research Center at Duke Kunshan University in China

Isabel Hilton – Journalist and founder of China Dialogue, an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting a common understanding of China’s environmental and climate challenges

Jennifer Turner – Director of the China Environment Forum at the Wilson Center in Washington DC

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